"Look at it burning."

DeVore Cries Havoc

-Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader, speaking as his group's rockets struck a US-made Israeli warship
Well, we're in for it now. Israel, Lebanon and Palestine are at each others' throats. Amr Moussa, General-Secretary of the Arab League, has declared the Middle East peace process "dead". That's not troubled, fragile or even desperate; it's DEAD. Beyond resuscitation. According to Mista Moussa, "Certain powers have given Israel every capacity to do whatever it wishes." Certain powers like the United States, Amr? Yeah. Us.
Meanwhile, President Bush, speaking to reporters prior to the G8 summit, has his own take on the cause of the problem:
"In my judgment, the best way to stop the violence is to understand why the violence occurred in the first place. And that's because Hezbollah has been launching rocket attacks out of Lebanon into Israel, and because Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. That's why we have violence."

Further complicating issues: the suggestion that Hezbollah used missiles provided by (and perhaps even operated by) Iranian agents. Jubal posted the following missive from Assemblymember Chuck DeVore on OCBlog:

The missiles that struck the Israeli Saar 5-class missile ship and an Egyptian-crewed cargo ship, perhaps of Cambodian registry, were likely highly sophisticated C-802 anti-ship missiles. These missiles are made in China where they are known as the Yingji-802. They have a range of about 120 kilometers (72 miles) and carry a 165 kilogram (363 lb) warhead. The missile has a very small radar cross section and a high-tech anti-jamming capability giving target ships a low likelihood of shooting the missile down. This missile is considered to be among the best in the world (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/c-802.htm).

China has sold a number of these missiles to Iran.

Why were the missiles likely to be C-802? Because that's the kinda missile that could have defied the warship's complicated defense systems. AND, if the Iranians are supplying the technology and expertise that's causing the strife right now, it strengthens arguments for lashing out at them in retaliation. Consider the following comments from Israel in the Toronto Star:
"Israeli ambassador Dan Gillerman responded to the Lebanese criticism by saying that Israel was "doing what was best for Lebanon" in liberating it from the "stranglehold of terror" it has lived under in the grip of both Syria and Iran — neighbouring countries that have had a substantial presence in Lebanon, and support Hezbollah.Gillerman added, "Hezbollah is only a finger of the long arms of Iran and Syria — (which) together with Hamas and Hezbollah constitute the world's most dangerous axis of evil."

Devore, relying on his military experience, had the following analysis on Hezbollah's daring strike:
"The Israeli Saar-5 was made in America, and has advanced defensive capabilities. For this reason, I doubted the initial reports (disinformation really) from the Hezbollah (Party of God) terrorist organization claiming that they used a home-made drone packed with explosives to hit the Saar-5. Were that so, it would have been shot out of the sky by the Saar's Phalanx CIWS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saar_5_class_missile_boat#Defensive_systems)."

Yet according to an unidentified source (as reported on AlJazeera.net), those systems were not active.
"The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the missile detection and deflection system was not operating apparently because the sailors did not anticipate such an attack by Hezbollah."

Wait a minute. If the defenses were down, then doesn't that mean the weapon involved wasn't necessarily a C-802? Even with China selling those missiles to Iran and Iran's supposed backing of Hezbollah, the link is too tenuous. DeVore's assessment, though valuable, could be dangerously misused to justify military action against Iran, based on the same tenuous sort of presumptuous intelligence that led us into Iraq in the first place.
Still, I'm not saying he's wrong. It just seems a little early to tell. But we might not have to wait long for more evidence.
According to AlJazeera.net,
Other defence sources say Hezbollah also has longer range missiles. Asked about the claims, a source close to Hezbollah said: "Wait a few days and you'll find out."


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